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January Books 7) The Rising of the Moon

7) The Rising of the Moon, by Flynn Connolly

I started off expecting this book to be just silly - in a future United Ireland where the Catholic Church has taken over, Nuala Dennehy foments a feminist revolution - but in the end I actually found the author's enthusiasm for her cause and her characters rather endearing. There's a lot for the Irish reader to nit-pick, not least that when the book was published, in 1994, the tide was definitely on the turn and Ireland's lurch into modernity becoming irreversible. But taken as a tale of the general processes of revolt and revolution, it's fair enough; and even if the situation of women in Ireland is unlikely ever again to be as bad as in Connolly's novel, there are enough other parts of the world which are there or heading that way for the specific political message to remain relevant. The narrative falters only at the very end when the fate of Nuala and her closest friends seemed to me to be a bit implausible. I can't say it's great literature, and Irish readers will be annoyed by the errors (eg the crowd gathering in the park opposite Belfast City Hall - so where has City Hall been moved to? Or what block of commercial buildings adjoining Donegall Square has been demolished?), but it was a better read than I expected.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
I went the other way when I read this (back when it originally came out); I held my nose for a while because of the energy of the writing, but the hand-waved massive oppression of women, combining the worst features of every century and more besides, suddenly coming into force in about a 20-year period drove me increasingly batty. It would have been far less annoying if set on some imaginary planet somewhere.

You say "the situation of women in Ireland is unlikely ever again to be as bad" - I'm not sure that there was any historical era where it was actually that bad, since it combined the feme couverte status with totaliarian surveillance and enforcement.
Jan. 21st, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
I read that one back in '94-'95, when I was first getting interested in Irish affairs, and classified it roughly the same way you are: as a guilty pleasure, the sort of thing I *knew* was stupid and I was a little embarrassed to enjoy, but which was a rollicking fun read despite all of that.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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